In a hurry this week, so let’s keep it short:

Steelers -1 over RAMS

Chargers +2 over VIKINGS

TEXANS -3.5 over Bucs

PANTHERS -3.5 over Saints

PATS -14 over Jags

Bengals +1.5 over Ravens

TITANS +5 over Colts

FALCONS pick em over Cowboys

CARDINALS -6 over 49ers

SEAHAWKS -14 over Bears

Bills +2 over DOLPHINS

Broncos +2 over LIONS

PACKERS -6.5 over Chiefs

and finally..

JETS pick’em over Eagles

I don’t want to give up on the birds just yet, and I’ll be happy as can be if they pull this off. But you can’t possibly bet on a team that looked as bad as any team ever has last week to beat a Jets team that’s rolling right now. I’m writing with my head, not my heart.




Above: Friend of the website Cary Williams has a fleeting moment of happiness before his dreams are crushed

Above: Friend of the website Cary Williams has a fleeting moment of happiness before his dreams are crushed

CAROLINA -(4.5) over Houston
Houston looked sterile last week against the Chiefs. Don’t let the close final score fool you- to quote the great Tony Bruno, they got boat raced against KC at home. Now they’re going on the road, and bringing their quarterback carousel with them. I’m still not sold on the Panthers, but they should do enough to beat the Texans by a touchdown.
Just ask yourself this: do you think Ryan Mallet can win in a hostile environment? How many times has he done it at Michigan and Arkansas, let alone the NFL?

NEW ORLEANS (-10.5) over Tampa Bay
Vegas is begging you to take the Bucs, but don’t take the bait. Jameis Winston still has a bright future in the NFL, but he looks exactly like you’d expect a rookie to look: lost and scared. He’ll be fine, but he won’t go on the road and beat the Saints.
The poor performance by the defense was what would scare me if I was a Bucs fan- they made Marcus Mariota look like Joe Montana. It was an abysmal performance.

Detroit (+3) over MINNESOTA
(and to win)
Speaking of abysmal performances, what the hell happened to the Vikings? They let a San Francisco team everyone had left for dead trample them. Now at home, against a rival, will they wake up? I don’t think so.

PITTSBURGH (-6.5) over San Francisco
Let’s give Jim Tomasulo some credit. He got the 49ers ready to play, and their defense hammered Teddy Bridgewater and co. into submission. It’ a nice story.
The Steelers won’t be in the mood for nice stories, though. This is a playoff team, and they got embarrassed last week by their inability to notice the biggest, best player on the other team split out wide by himself (on more than one occasion). They’ll have fixed their communication issues, and if by chance they have to listen to the radio feed in their headsets again, at least it’ll be their own broadcasters this time.

New England (+1.5) over BUFFALO
(and to win)
This has all the makings of a classic trap game. On the road, hostile environment, division rivals, Rex Ryan, stifling defense, Bills riding high after beating the AFC favorite… How can you pick the Patriots?
Because Bill Belichick will make sure they’re aware of all of the above. He will not let them forget it. I was dead wrong when I guessed they’d come out flat last week- the Patriots were fired up.
Shady McCoy will get some yards, and it should be low scoring, but I’m interested to see how the Bills overcome two things: an inexperienced quarterback, and the age old question: who covers Gronk?
I mean, really, he’s uncoverable. The only reasonable option is to bracket and double him all game, but then Julian Edelman will see single coverage and eat them alive.

CHICAGO (+1.5) over Arizona
(and to win)
The Cardinals are a decent team, and they go in to Chicago with every chance to get a win against the Bears. I just think the bears have too many weapons on offense to lose at home in this one; I like Matt Forte to have a big game. Alshon Jefferies’ health is obviously a big concern, but they should be able to edge the Cardinals.

CLEVELAND (pk) over Tennessee
This game is a complete and utter mystery. You can’t pretend to have any idea who is going to win; it’s all gut feeling. The point spreads were all over the place here- some have the Titans as favorites, others the Browns.  Marcus Mariota looked great last week, and Johnny F’ing Football is starting today, so there’s sure to be fireworks.
Sometimes, though, you take a step back and keep it simple: the Browns are at home and have a good defense.

ST. LOUIS (-2.5) over Washington
The last time Nick Foles faced the Redskins, he tore them to pieces in a shootout. He won’t have Jeremy Maclin and LeSean Mccoy this time, but after the Seahawks, the Redskins will seem like a JV team.
I have no faith in the Redskins. They played well for stretches last week, and led in total yards for a while, but they just could not put the ball in the end zone. You don’t score, you don’t win.

Atlanta (+2.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS
(and to win)
The Falcons played well for a half last week, which is more than the Giants can say. Look, I understand it was a game near then end, but neither the Giants or the Cowboys looked like they had any right or ability to beat anyone that day. It was a horror show for fans of good football.
The Falcons front 7 played much better than anyone expected, and should keep Elisha on his back all day.

Baltimore (-4.5) over OAKLAND
What in the world happened to the Raiders? There was so much optimism! What a humiliating game, getting shellacked on their home turf by the Bengals.
Baltimore didn’t look too impressive last week either, but they should be able to handle the Raiders. Justin Forsett should have a solid day, assuming he plays.

JACKSONVILLE (+6) over Miami
I’m not ready to give up on the Jaguars just yet. The Dolphins didn’t look very impressive last week against the Redskins, short of Jarvis Landry going off.  The Jags should cover the spread, at the very least. Their defense is nothing to joke about, and they have plenty of high draft picks on offense who should start to develop… sometime.
The wild card here is that the stadium will most likely be just as filled with Dolphin fans as Jaguar fans. This may swing the momentum late on.

PHILADELPHIA (-4) over Dallas
Full disclosure: if Dez was playing, I’d be picking the Cowboys. But he’s not. Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley and the ‘Boys don’t scare me. They’ll get some points, but the Eagles should be able to outpace them at home. If the Birds play like they played the second half against Atlanta, this game won’t even be close.
They won’t be able to keep that up for 60 minutes, but they should be able to beat a Dez-less Dallas by a touchdown. Let’s just hope and pray it doesn’t come down to a Cody Parkey field goal. Oh, David Akers, where art thou?

GREEN BAY (-3) over Seattle
I don’t think Seattle has any reason to panic just yet, but this was the worst possible game they could imagine after a week one debacle in St. Louis: having to travel to Lambeau to face a Packers squad hellbent on revenge from a fluke NFC Championship Game loss a year ago.
Oh, and remember when everyone was panicking about losing Jordy Nelson? James Jones sure put a stop to that. He’s going to bury that fraud Cary Williams, especially with no Kam Chancellor over the top.

INDIANAPOLIS (-6) over New York Jets
Indianapolis has to take that game film from week one, strap it to a rocket, and fire it into the sun. They can’t possibly be that bad. They’ll be at home, and the Jets will struggle to move the ball. It should be low scoring, though, as the Jets have a massive advantage in the matchup between Corners and Receivers when Indy has the ball. Indianapolis will have to establish a running game and control the tempo.

Season Stats:
Straight up: 7-9
ATS: 6-10

KANSAS CITY (-3) over Denver

I don’t like Spaghetti Manning on the road at KC. Wouldn’t surprise me if he comes out pissed off and thrashes the Chiefs either. Tough game to call, so I’m taking the home team.



Above: Two GOATS

Above: Two GOATS

Pittsburgh (+7) over NEW ENGLAND
(and to win)

The New England Patriots have had quite an interesting 6 months since they were caught with their pants down with the Deflategate scandal. Whether or not you believe them to be innocent, they should show up in Foxboro ready to play- the banner will be raised, the Steelers will be in town, and the fans will be well-lubricated after a day full of Brady worship and drowning themselves in both smugness and Harpoon IPA.
From a pure X’s and O’s standpoint, though, this Patriots team is significantly weaker than last year’s. Brady is back, but looked horrendous in his limited preseason action, and seems visibly shaken by the beating he’s taken in 2015. The receiver position is weakened by the absence of Brandon LaFell, and the loss of Darrell Revis absolutely cripples their secondary. I like the Steelers in this game, unless a sticky-fingered Pats assistant finds his way into the Pittsburgh locker room and gets his hands on the gameplan.

CHICAGO (+6.5) over Green Bay

I think the Packers take this game by a field goal. This Chicago D is going to be atrocious- historically so- but the Green Bay defense isn’t that good either, and the Burrs will be ready to go week one at Soldier Field.The loss of Jordy Nelson makes this a much closer game than anticipated, but Aaron Rodgers is still more than good enough to take down Chicago.

HOUSTON (-1) over Kansas City

Both of these teams believe they’re on the ascent. Both of them consider themselves playoff contenders. Both will be heartbroken to lose an early season game they feel they should win.
I like KC on a neutral field- Alex Smith is competent enough, and they have a solid group of skill position players in Charles, Maclin and Kelce. Their offensive weapons dwarf Houston’s.
But I like the Texans defense better, and in an evenly matched game, home field advantage is important.

Cleveland (+3) over NEW YORK JETS
(and to win)

I think the Jets are going to be awful this year. I’m not overly impressed by their quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends or wide receivers. Their offensive line is okay, but it can’t carry such a dreadful skill position group. If their defense can stay on the field *cough Sheldon Richardson cough* they can steal a few games here and there.
I’m not too particularly impressed with the Browns, either, but I think McCown will do less to lose a game than Ryan Fitzpatrick will, if that makes any sense.
This game is a toss up, but I think Ryan “Every-Announcer-Must-Mention-My-Beard-and-Harvard” Fitzpatrick will throw a game-losing INT in a crucial moment and blow it for the Jets.

BUFFALO (+2.5) over Indianapolis
(and to win)

The Colts are everyone’s dandy team this year. It just looks like everything has slid into place for them. But I don’t trust any team that goes out and adds a bunch of over-the-hill talent and expects to win with it. Andre Johnson and Frank Gore are past it. If they think going to Orchard Park is going to be a cakewalk, they’re going to have quite a rude awakening when they run into a fired-up buffalo team that is going to flatten their weak defensive front into a fine paste. Take the points.

Seattle (-4) over ST. LOUIS

I love me some Nicky Franchise, but that Rams team is going to be awful. The ’07 Giants proved you can win with nothing but a solid pass rush, but that was more of the exception than the rule. The Rams have nothing else going for them, and Jeff Fisher is a fraud. What, pray tell, has he won in this league? If you listen to the media, you’d think he’s got a few Lombardi Trophies in the bank. It’s embarrassing that he and Andy Reid continue to garner such praise despite being in the league this long with nothing to show for it.
Regardless, the Seahawks will suffocate that pathetic excuse for an offense and win going away. No clever special teams tricks will save them this time.

Miami (-4) over WASHINGTON

I’m not the biggest Ryan Tannehill fan in the world, but he shouldn’t have any issues against the Redskins, who will be fighting all year with the Rams and Jets for the first overall pick.
Kirk Cousins is not an NFL starting quarterback, and the Dolphins D will eat him alive. Look for the boo birds to be out early in DC, with patience wearing thin from the Redskin fans. I really don’t blame them, as the last couple years since RG3 went down in a heap in the Wildcard Round have been embarrassing. Those fans deserve better than Daniel Snyder and that train wreck of a franchise.

JACKSONVILLE (+3) over Carolina
(and to win)

Look, I know the Panthers won a playoff game last year, but have we all developed convenient amnesia regarding the circumstances? They were a 7-9 team that got in by virtue of being in an abortion of a division, and they got gifted a home game versus a team with no quarterback. No really, the Cardinals had no quarterbacks left. Ryan Lindley started that game. RYAN LINDLEY. A PLAYOFF GAME. That whole game was farcical and should be perceived as illegitimate.
Point being, the Panthers were not a good team last year, and the Jags won’t be as bad as you think they were. They’ll be feisty at home and should put up a good fight. I think they have every chance to win this game.

ARIZONA (-2.5) over New Orleans

This has all the classic hallmarks of a New Orleans loss. Saints traveling cross country? Drew Brees on the road? Drew Brees past his prime? Stingy home defense? Wild crowd?
I like the Cardinals in this game comfortably, especially with a healthy Carson Palmer.

SAN DIEGO (-3) over Detroit

Losing Ndomakong Suh will mean a lot less personal fouls, but it also means a loss of identity. Just who are the Detroit Lions? What is their gameplan, short of “Throw it to Megatron every play,” with a sprinkle of “Throw it to Tate if Megatron is double covered?” Their defense used to be mean and tough, and I’m very interested to see what they look like this year.
I have a feeling they’re going to be soft, and Philip Rivers eats soft defenses on the regular. I just don’t see the Lions flying to California and beating the Chargers, even with the 3 points.

Baltimore (+4.5) over DENVER
(and to win)

I’m not a passenger on the “Peyton is done for” bandwagon.
I’m the driver. That dude is toast. Stick a fork in him. The Broncos will win 8 or 9 games this year and miss the playoffs, and Manning will retire. It starts with a crushing loss against the Ravens. Joe Flacco will have fond memories of the 2012 Divisional Round game where they force overtime on a last-gasp Hail Mary in one of Peyton’s biggest choke jobs of his illustrious choking career.
Ravens win by two scores at least.

Cincinnati (-3.5) over OAKLAND

I think the Raiders are heading in the right direction. They have a solid young quarterback, a diamond in the rough in Latavius Murray, and a few good young players on defense. The Bengals, on the other hand, are already there. Yes, they blow it in the playoffs every year, but they’re still good enough to handle the Raiders in week one. Their defensive front will have no problems with the Raiders offensive line, and Derek Carr will be running for his life the entire game.

Tennessee (+3) over TAMPA
(and to win)

MARIOTA! WINSTON! Oh, the drama!
They’ll both struggle. It’s week one for two promising young stars. In 5 years, this game may be a battle between two heavyweights; but for now, it’s a battle of which supporting cast can carry their young signal caller. I think the Titans will have a good defense this year, and their offensive line will be alright. And “alright” is enough to beat Tampa bay.

DALLAS (-6) over New York Giants

The Cowboys offensive line will demolish the Giants front seven. When NYG brings extra help, Tony Romo will carve the Giants joke of a secondary into pieces. It doesn’t matter that Odell Beckham will have his way with whatever pathetic corner tries to cover him, because it’ll all be garbage time yardage. Dallas wins big at home.

Philadelphia (-3) over ATLANTA

There’s no learning curve here for the Eagles rebuilt secondary- Julio Jones week one, Dez Bryant week two. I think Matt Ryan will pick on Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll a bit, but at least they’ll put up a fight, unlike the bums the Eagles had last year.
The key here is the Falcons lack of a running game. They’ve done nothing to lead me to believe they can run on anyone, let alone Fletcher Cox and company.
The Falcons will have no answer for Chip Kelly’s lightning quick offense, and Sam Bradford will have a solid first week. The game will be high scoring, but the Eagles should win by a touchdown.

Minnesota (-2.5) over SAN FRANCISCO

When I’m not on the “Peyton is Done” bandwagon, I’m firmly entrenched on the “Teddy is the Next Big Thing” bandwagon. The kid is going to be a stud. I think he takes a big first step by going on the road and beating a downtrodden 49ers squad.
How can a team be downtrodden before they play their first game, you ask? It takes a special group, and this Niners team has all the tools. They have the potential to to be a disaster. I believe they have what it takes.